Target’s Education Assistance Program Is Great Engagement For Associates


Every company tries to keep associates engaged and striving to move ahead. Target
is clearly succeeding in this area. Target’s launch of its “Dream to Be” program two years ago has had excellent results. It is a program that provides tuition-free access to formal education and is available to both fulltime and part-time associates from the first day they report for work. Guild is the education assistance company that manages this program for Target. When the company reviewed program progress, it noted that 90% of participants are front-line team members.

Store associates can enroll in both undergraduate or associate degree programs at more than 40 colleges, universities, and boot-camp programs. Tracking results, Guild reports that the turnover of hourly associates who participate in the program is now 70% lower and promotions among these team members are three times higher. Impressive.

Business, technology, and language learning courses are, according to the company, the most popular pathways for Target associates. Kris K., an assistant at the Vernon Hills, Ill. store said that joining a Spanish language program not only helped him grow but also helped him better connect with his Spanish speaking customers.

Target is currently enhancing the program by adding four historically black colleges and universities and also awarding college credits for select Target training programs.

The Progressive Grocer also points out that Target is among Progressive Grocer’s top food and consumables retailers in North America. It is among the 100 largest retailers in grocery retailing with nearly 2,000 locations. Target is also included among the Retailers of the Century.

POSTSCRIPT: Education is helping associates advance at Target. What a great headline! And, what a great win for Target, its staff, and its customers. Making education available two years ago was an important first step. Now adding more schools to the program is a clear indication that the program works; it reduces turnover, raises the caliber of performance and improves productivity, and builds pride among the associates.


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